Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Moros y Cristianos 2011

Once again the festival of Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians, or, in Valenciano, Moros i Cristians) has come to a firework-filled end, after more than a week of street-fighting, more fireworks, re-enactments, street picnics, official and unofficial events, but, perhaps most importantly, of two evenings of costumed parades. This year, these parades took place on 23 and 24 July and were accompanied by a very large number of spectators, lining the route of the main thoroughfare of Guardamar del Segura.

Guardamar is particularly fortunate to have such a thoroughfare, which makes for far better marching conditions than those found in other Spanish towns and villages, where Moros y Cristianos festivities are celebrated, starting in about February and going on until August. Most places are quite old and have narrow, winding streets. Guardamar, having been completely redesigned and rebuit after a devastating earthquake in the ealy 19th century, now boasts a relatively modern, wide and straight central main road, offering a good couple of kilometres along which to parade in fine style.

Unlike a carnival, the Moros y Cristianos parade is concerned more with spectacular costumes than with large floats. The participating groups "belong" to either the Moros or the Cristianos. Each group, or comparsa (I believe there are ten comparsas in Guardamar), is itself divided into lines, or filas, each made up of perhaps six to ten people. Each fila spreads out across the road, shoulder to shoulder, and marches the whole length of the course, accompanied by strident music. Altogether, hundreds of people dress in wonderful costumes and march in this way.

I do not know exactly how many filas there are, but there must be close to a hundred. The whole parade lasts approximately three hours.

To have a better idea of the costumes, see my gallery of photos.

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